A man whose life was turned around after a course helped him overcome his stammer is encouraging others in a similar position to give it a go.
Three months ago, Alex Mullen from Bedlington, ordered his first takeaway over the phone.
For most 26-year-olds this would be a simple task, but Alex has suffered with a stammer for most of his life.
“These are every day activities that often get taken for granted by fluent speakers. As a stutterer, simple tasks such as those were difficult,” he said.
“I would avoid any and all speaking situations if I could, I never even answered my mobile phone as speaking on the telephone always made me panic and I’d often struggle to even get a hello out.”
Last year Alex decided he’d had enough, and applied for a graduate marketing position which included an online video interview.
“I couldn’t say a single word,” he said: “Thirty seconds of stammering feels like an eternity, I slammed down my laptop screen without managing to say a sound. It was shameful.”
Alex had reached his tipping point, and enroled on a four day intensive course in Newcastle known as the McGuire Programme, which has been used in the past by celebrity stammerer Gareth Gates.
“The course really pushes you to your limits. The results are immediate though, at the end of the first day you are able to stand up in front of a packed room and confidently say your name and address like never before,” he said.
And the progress doesn’t stop there.
“You leave the course feeling like you can finally be the person you have always wanted to be. You no longer fear your own voice.
“Ten days after the course, I had an interview for my dream role and I was able to focus on answering questions rather than what words to avoid.”
A week later Alex was offered the job, and is now calling on anyone who suffers from a stammer to give the programme a chance.
“The McGuire Programme isn’t a cure for your stammer, but it gives you the chance of taking control of your speech. It allows you to take your life back,” he added.
Visit www.mcguireprogramme.com for more details.